Movin’ On Up

  • L.A. Weekly
  • December 6, 2006
  • Michelle Paster

Our city gets vertical with a crop of new high-rise condos

For years, the 57-story Rolls Royce office tower downtown sat empty. But it was only a matter of time before the chunk of real estate caught the eye of The Martin Group and Forest City Enterprises. With the help of Thomas P. Cox Architects, the building was reinvented as a home to luxury high-rise condominiums. Now 1100 Wilshire boasts a swimming pool, 16 floors of above-ground parking and breathtaking views of the city and even Catalina. It has added enviro-friendly standards like bamboo flooring and energy-efficient use of space and light.

But the main reason residents like Kevin Strom moved here is to avoid a brutal commute. “A lot of my clients are there [downtown] and I can avoid the daily traffic from Orange County,” Strom says. “A lot of young people are moving to the area as well.” Strom sold his 4,100-square-foot O.C. house in exchange for an 18th-floor two-bed/two-bath corner loft. The lofts feature bedrooms on platforms, and they are open and raised to the level of the windows to reduce the need for artificial light. There is even an option for an “upside-down town home” with 21-foot ceilings upstairs, where the bedroom is located, and lower, 18-foot ceilings downstairs.

Frosted glass, set in place with an invisible frame, is used to divide space between the bathroom and the living area. Existing steel beams, from floor to ceiling, had to remain in the new development. Enclosed with dry wall and paint, they form an interpretive-modern-art display of alphabet letters. Most of the condos cost more than a million dollars, but when you’re stuck on the 405 for four hours, you might start a complicated math equation involving gas costs and time spent per year in traffic. 550- to 12,000-square-foot penthouses: high $400,000s to more than $1 million; 1100 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., (213) 482-9000 or